As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and later the U.S. Army, Rich has an exceptional discipline, accountability and “can do” spirit that he brings to his practice of law. Some attorneys say they are always on call, but Rich really means it. He has driven to meet vessels involved in casualties in the middle of the night, he has taken client calls from the beach in St. Barth’s and he regularly visits with clients and provides his opinion on any question they have, even if he isn’t currently involved in that specific matter.
As a member of the Commercial Litigation Service Group, Rich represents clients in litigation arising out of marine and transportation accidents.
In one of his most memorable cases, Rich represented a Marine transportation client who lost a number of barges as its vessel was attempting to navigate past a dam on an Illinois river. The barges damaged the dam and the town near the river flooded resulting in hundreds of claimants in the limitation action, including the United States of America and hundreds of property owners in the town that flooded. While some claims were settled, others were tried, including claims of more than 100 property owners, totaling in the tens of millions of dollars. The judge ruled that the incident was 100% the fault of the dam operator, an employee of the United States, and exonerated Rich’s client.
When Rich isn’t practicing law you can find him spending time with his three daughters, biking, running, or kickboxing.
Membership & Involvement
- Member: Maritime Law Association of the United States; Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL), BAMSL Maritime Law Section; Nerinx Hall (High School) Father's Club, Essay Contest Chair
- Former Chair: 2018 Maritime Law Seminar Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers; BAMSLA Maritime Law Section
- Selected to The Best Lawyers in America© in Commercial Litigation: 2022, 2023
Resources & Insights
- SmithAmundsen Alert,
- BAMSL Maritime Law Seminar; St. Louis, MO,
- Impact of Subchapter M on Personal Injury LiabilityImpact of Subchapter M on Personal Injury Liability
Join Rich McNelley at The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis’ Maritime Law Seminar for his presentation on the impact of subchapter M on personal injury liability.
- 41 SmithAmundsen Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers in America© 202241 SmithAmundsen Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers in America© 2022
Inclusion in this listing is entirely based on peer review and demonstrates that attorneys in each nominee’s respective fields hold these attorneys in high esteem.
- Maintenance and Cure in the Time of COVID-19Maintenance and Cure in the Time of COVID-19
As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge across the country, employers are faced with an array of new risks and challenges.
- Attorney Rich McNelley Joins SmithAmundsen & Expands Maritime Litigation Services in St. LouisAttorney Rich McNelley Joins SmithAmundsen & Expands Maritime Litigation Services in St. Louis
SmithAmundsen’s St. Louis office is pleased to welcome Rich McNelley as senior counsel in its commercial litigation practice group.